Summer Traveling on a College Budget

Who doesn’t love to travel? The opportunity to explore, discover and learn? Or just a chance to escape from your everyday life? What not to love? Well if traveling is so great why don’t we do it all the time? ... Obviously, this is unrealistic, for one reason, money. It’s no secret that traveling can be pricey. But if the expense of traveling is the main factor holding you back, then you are in the right place! There is no reason traveling needs to break the bank, here are a few tips to traveling on a budget.

Always search in an incognito tab

Have you ever noticed that when you are planning a vacation and check the rates on transportation or a place to stay a few days in a row and the fares only seem to go up? Often times, search browsers save your search history, and when there is repeated activity on a certain site, it manipulates the costs, leaving you with a much larger price. Searching in an incognito tab alleviates this issue. You can check the prices as many times as you like without any of your recent activity being saved. This will ensure that you will see the true prices every time and avoid overpaying. 

Purchase your tickets in advance

While this is a pretty well-known tip, make sure you buy your transportation tickets or place of lodging well in advance. Typically the closer to the date of travel, the higher the rates will be. Additionally, you will have a wider range of options because there is a low likelihood that anything will be completely booked. According to Skyscanner, the best time to book flights for domestic trips is 2-3 weeks in advance, and the best time to book international journeys is 5-6 months in advance. Additionally, it advises that for the best price you should book hotel rooms 3-4 weeks before your visit. Booking in advance ensures that you will be able to get both the cheapest and the best option for you. 

 

Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash

Travel in the off-season

By traveling in the offseason, you won’t be trying to compete with the hoards of other tourists for transportation or lodging. During the on seasons, travel companies’ business is booming. Obviously, they can charge more at this time. You will save so much if you choose to vacation on the offseason. Research the place that you want to visit and find out when their busiest and least busy tourist times are.

Book on websites like wanderu.com and apps like Bunny Hopper

These sites allow you to see travel options from a variety of companies side by side so you can see a direct comparison. Wanderu is best for bus or train tickets, while Bunny Hopper is great for booking flights and hotels. These resources ensure that you will be getting the best prices available

Pack lightly!

While it has its abundance of benefits, only packing a carry on can save you some cash. While some airlines allow you one free checked bag, this is not always the case. Always make sure to check your airline's guidelines. Even if you can check one bag, make sure it falls within the allowed weight requirements to avoid paying extra!

Stay at an Airbnb or hostels instead of a hotel

While hotels come with the perks of luxury, this isn’t entirely necessary when you are trying to travel economically. These options get the jobs done in terms of providing shelter. At times they can be more fun than a hotel room! By staying in the home of someone who actually lives in the area, you will have a much more authentic experience. You will be spending much less money, and will be spending all of your time exploring!

Photo by Sandra Kaas on Unsplash

Take a trip to the grocery store

Especially for lengthier trips, eating out for every single meal can add up. Just stocking up on a few food items to serve you for a meal or two a day can definitely help out.

Take advantage of the free breakfast provided

Some hotels and hostels offer breakfast each morning. Take advantage of this food so that you aren’t spending unnecessary money on breakfast. Also, snag some for later! Grab a few extra pieces of fruit or toast so that you have something to snack on later in the day.

Don’t eat three meals a day

Budget the way you eat to benefit your wallet. It’s probably easiest to eat a large breakfast and hold out to dinner, but you could also swing a big lunch a little later in the day. This will cut out a third of the money that you spend on food throughout your entire trip.

Do your research!

Anywhere you could possibly go will have so much to offer, so make sure you familiarize yourself with everything that is available. You will want to visit the main attractions of the area, but read up on what is free, sometimes there are certain days of the month or week that museums or other attractions will open for free. Make sure to check for coupons or discounts. Additionally, always check the calendars of the hot spots in the place you are visiting, it’s always tragic when you plan to go somewhere and it is closed or sold out on that day. This can lead to spending more by trying to fill this time. Go in with a plan and you’ll have a great time!

Go off the beaten path

Just whatever you do, don’t get caught in a tourist trap. While this goes along with doing your research, talk to the locals once you get there. Find out where the best places to eat, stay, watch, etc actually are, not just the flashiest. You will definitely have the best experiences in the places that might be just a little harder to find. 

Photo by Victoriano Izquierdo on Unsplash

But wherever you go, make sure not to focus just on the financials too much. The point of a vacation is to let go and have a good time, so as long as you prepare and follow these steps, you are sure to be all set. Have fun and good luck traveling!